United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
TERRENCE W. BOYLE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on defendant's motion for
sanctions. [DE 32]. The motion has been fully briefed and is
ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow,
defendant's motion for sanctions [DE 32] is GRANTED and
the case is DISMISSED.
proceeding pro se, initiated this action in July
2016, alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964. In particular, plaintiff alleges that in March
2016 she was terminated from her position at Foot Locker in
Fayetteville, North Carolina on the basis of her gender. In
May 2018, the Court partially dismissed plaintiffs claims,
but permitted her claims against defendant Foot Locker to
proceed. [DE 15]. A scheduling order was entered and
defendant served its first round of interrogatories and
requests for production on September 24, 2018. [DE 27-1].
Plaintiff failed to provide any discovery responses by the
October 24, 2018 deadline. In March 2019, defendant moved to
compel plaintiffs discovery responses. [DE 26]. On April 22,
2019 the Court granted the motion to compel, ordering
plaintiff to provide discovery responses by May 3 or risk
"sanctions against her up to and including dismissal of
her Complaint." [DE 31].
13, plaintiff still had not complied with the Court's
order and provided discovery responses, so defendant filed
the instant motion for sanctions. [DE 32]. In particular,
defendant requests that the Court dismiss plaintiffs Second
Amended Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
37(b)(2)(A) for failure to comply with a court order
compelling discovery. Id. Plaintiff has responded in
opposition, simply asserting that she "had a copy of the
discovery and also her Tax Returns for the request years at
the deposition on May 6, 2019" but didn't provide
them because defendant "didn't specifically ask for
the documents at the time." [DE 34].
has moved for sanctions under Federal Rule of Procedure
37(b)(2)(A). The Rule provides that if a party "fails to
obey an order to provide or permit discovery, including an
order under Rule 26(f), 35, or 37(a), the court where the
action is pending may issue further just orders."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(A). Rule 37 then provides a list of
seven possible sanctions, including "dismissing the
action or proceeding in whole or in part." Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(b)(2)(A)(v); see also Riggins v. Steel Techs., 48
Fed.Appx. 460, 462 (4th Cir. 2002) ("Rule 37 permits a
court to impose sanctions, including dismissal of a case with
prejudice, if a party fails to comply with a discovery
order."). Prior to dismissing an action under Rule 37, a
court must consider (1) whether there has been bad faith on
the part of the non-complying party, (2) the amount of
prejudice the noncompliance has caused the other party, (3)
the need for deterrence of this sort of non-compliance, and
(4) whether less drastic sanctions would be effective.
Mut. Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass 'n v. Richards &
Associates., Inc., 872 F.2d 88, 92 (4th Cir. 1989). A
district court enjoys wide discretion in determining whether
to issue sanctions under Rule 37. See, e.g., S. States
Rack And Fixture, Inc. v. Sherwin-Williams Co., 318 F.3d
592, 595 (4th Cir. 2003).
Court, in its discretion, finds that dismissal with prejudice
is warranted in these circumstances. Plaintiffs pro
se status does not excuse her from the duty to comply
with this Court's orders and the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. She has had ample opportunity to provide
discovery, including interrogatory responses and documents
responsive to defendant's requests for production, and
she has not done so. Plaintiffs failure to comply with this
Court's April 22 order directing her to provide discovery
responses by May 3, despite being explicitly warned that the
failure to comply could result in dismissal, demonstrates bad
faith and has significantly prejudiced defendant as the
discovery period draws to a close. There is a clear need for
deterrence in circumstances such as these and no other
sanction would be as effective in this situation as
dismissal. Under Rule 37(b)(2)(A), dismissal is warranted in
such, the Court finds that plaintiff must be sanctioned for
acting in bad faith and failing to comply with a court order
and that dismissal is the appropriate sanction.
Defendant's motion is granted and the case is dismissed
above reasons, defendant's motion for sanctions [DE 32]